Baseball Drops Opener to Alabama, 8-3
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  - The VMI Keydets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but the Alabama Crimson Tide scored the game's final eight runs and went on to an 8-3 victory Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

After the Keydets (0-1) struck for three early runs off Alabama (1-0) ace Spencer Turnbull, knocking him out of the game in the fourth inning, VMI had a chance to add to its lead even further when Matt Winn led off the fifth inning with a triple off Tide reliever Ray Castillo (1-0). Castillo, however, got Drew Bryan on an infield grounder without allowing the run to score, struck out Jordan Tarsovich and, after a walk, struck out Rob Dickinson to end the inning.

That sequence appeared to turn the game around, as the Winn triple would be VMI's only hit off winning pitcher Castillo in 3 1/3 innings of work. Alabama, meanwhile, scored twice in the fifth, once in the sixth, twice in the seventh and broke the game open with three runs in the ninth to take the victory. Rian Ellis (0-1) took the loss for the Keydets in his first appearance since 2011, as he entered the game in the sixth inning and was charged with two runs, both earned.

The Keydets, playing their second consecutive opener against an SEC opponent, immediately threatened. Tarsovich led off the game with a walk, and freshman third baseman Ray Lopez had an infield single in his first career at-bat. Dickinson, however, struck out, and Berkley Hawkins grounded into a double play on a ball Turnbull deflected to second baseman Kyle Overstreet for a 1-4-6-3 rally-killing double play.

VMI then got on the board in the second. Nick Dwyer led off with a single, and Red Dowdell followed with a ground ball to second base. Overstreet threw to second, looking for the force play, but threw wildly to allow both runners to reach. Brandon Angus followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Winn hit a two-strike pitch through the right side to score Dwyer, putting VMI up, 1-0. Bryan then grounded into a fielder's choice to score Dowdell and push the margin to two, 2-0.

Keydet starter Reed Garrett breezed through the first three innings, allowing only two singles, and his team added on in the fourth. With one out, Dwyer hammered a first-pitch triple to right-center, and Dowdell followed with a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-0 game. Garrett allowed only a single in the fourth, setting the stage for the momentum turn in the fifth.

After VMI failed to get Winn home in the fifth, Garrett, closing in on a career-long outing, walked two of the first three hitters in the fifth. They would both eventually score as the Crimson Tide cut the deficit to 3-2, but Garrett induced a flyout with the tying run on third to end the inning.

Ellis relieved in the sixth, and retired Overstreet to start the inning. Ben Moore followed with a single, and Kenny Roberts doubled him to third. Brett Booth then lofted a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game, 3-all. Ellis wriggled out of further damage, but could not do so in the seventh.

Cary Baxter led off with a walk, and after a failed sacrifice bunt, he moved to second on a wild pickoff throw. Miles McQuaig relieved, and one batter later, White singled home a run to give the home team the lead for good. Moore added an RBI hit later in the inning, and the Tide scored three times in the eighth to account for the final margin.

Neither starter figured in the decision, as Turnbull was charged with three runs, one earned, over 3 2/3 innings of work, while Garrett equaled his career-long outing by going five innings. He struck out three, walked three and allowed two runs on four hits. Dwyer and Winn had two hits apiece to lead the VMI offense, while White went 4 for 5 with two RBI to pace the homestanding Alabama squad.

VMI and Alabama will resume their season-opening series Saturday, playing game two of the three-game set in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at 3:05 p.m. Eastern time.

Alabama 8, VMI 3 (Feb. 15, 2013 at Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
VMI                         020 100 000  -  3  5  3  (0-1)
Alabama               000 021 23X  -  8 10 1 (1-0)
VMI - R. Garrett; Ellis (6); McQuaig (7); Montague (7); Kelley (8) and Winn.
ALABAMA -Turnbull; Castillo (4); Guilbeau (8); Kamplain (9) and Booth.
W- Castillo (1-0) L - Ellis (0-1) T- 2:36 A-3269